Skip to main content

Cuirass: HEN.M.122-1933

Object information

Awaiting location update


Production: Unknown




Cuirass, for a boy, with applied brass ornament, comprising a breastplate of great weight and a backplate. The medially-ridged breastplate is formed in one piece with a narrow flange at the waist. The arm-openings and the broad, shallow neck-opening have outward-flanged edges. Baluster-shaped studs of brass with domed roundels at their bases are attached at each side of the chest by means of integral split-pins. They serve to engage the shoulder-strap of the backplate. Flat, downturned belt-hooks are riveted at each side of the waist.
The backplate is formed of a main plate and a skirt of one lame. The main plate is slightly shaped to the shoulders. Riveted at each shoulder is a scaled shoulder-strap, pierced at its terminal with two keyhole-slots to engage the studs of the breastplate. The terminal scale of the left strap is restored, as is the underlying leather of both straps. Riveted at each side of the waist is a modern strap forming a waist-belt. The right strap terminates in a single-ended tongued iron buckle. The scales of the shoulder-straps and the buckle of the waist-belt retain traces of gold paint. Riveted at the right side of the main-plate is a threaded stud of uncertain function. The lower edge of the main-plate is flanged outwards to receive a skirt of one lame which is attached to it by three externally-flush rivets.
The main edges of the breastplate and backplate have plain inward turns, except at the neck-opening of the backplate which has been trimmed in modern times. The breastplate and the backplate are decorated around their neck-openings, their arm-openings and their waists with brass bands retained by split-pins of brass with large round heads. The band at the neck of the breastplate is V-shaped. The split-pins retain modern buff leather lining-bands. Those around the arm-openings are decorated with crimson velvet piccadils. The backplate and its skirt were at one time decorated with three raised bands in the 'black and white' fashion which have subsequently been hammered out. Those in the skirt appear to have been original, whereas those in the backplate appear to have been added in modern times.


History note: Mr James Stewart Henderson of 'Abbotsford', Downs Road, St Helen's Park, Hastings, Sussex.

Legal notes

J.S. Henderson Bequest

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1933-03-16) by Henderson, James Stewart


17th Century
19th century
20th century
Circa 1600 CE - Circa 1650 CE - Circa 1680 CE - Circa 1800 CE - 1933 CE


North Italian

The cuirass is black with extensive oxidation. The backplate originally possessed a 'black from the hammer' finish.

Components of the work

Piccadils composed of velvet ( crimson)
Lining-bands composed of leather ( modern)
Decoration composed of gold paint
Buckle composed of iron (metal)
Studs composed of brass (alloy)
Breastplate Depth 14.6 cm Height 31.5 cm Weight 4.72 kg Width 33.7 cm
Backplate Depth 17.7 cm Height 35.5 cm Weight 2.1 kg Width 37 cm

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Hammered : The medially-ridge breastplate is formed in one-piece with a narrow flange at the waist; the backplate is formed of a main plate and a skirt of one lame; hammered, shaped, riveted, decorated with brass bands

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: (?)

  • Text: 16
  • Location: Inside of the backplate
  • Method of creation: Painted in white
  • Type: Number

Identification numbers

Accession number: HEN.M.122-1933
Primary reference Number: 18601
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 11 January 2023 Last processed: Wednesday 11 January 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) "Cuirass" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-02-03 14:11:47

Citation for Wikipedia

To cite this record on Wikipedia you can use this code snippet:

{{cite web|url= |title=Cuirass |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2023-02-03 14:11:47|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

API call for this record

To call these data via our API (remember this needs to be authenticated) you can use this code snippet:

Please enter your name as you would like to be addressed
Please enter your email address
The object accession number - this is prefilled
Please enter your query with as much detail as possible

More objects and works of art you might like


Accession Number: O.10B-1904


Accession Number: M.19A-1950


Accession Number: C.236-1991


Accession Number: CM.12-1943

Sign up for updates

Updates about future exhibitions and displays, family activities, virtual events & news. You'll be the first to know...